Donations enable food bank to move forward in Baker Lake

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The Abluqta Society distributed food to 94 hungry people in Baker Lake this past month, moving the society closer to its goal of opening a regular food bank.

The society is a non-profit social enterprise that strives to provide work experience opportunities for Inuit with barriers to employment.

It recently celebrated the first anniversary of the opening of its Thrift Shop, which sells recycled clothing, toys, and household goods at reasonable prices.

The Abluqta Society is continually seeking funding and volunteers to provide a regular food bank service in the community to address the high levels of food insecurity experienced by many families in Baker Lake.

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Gail Angnasungaq, from left, Viola Haqpi and Belinda Utatnaq volunteer to fold clothing and help out with the inventory at the Abluqta Society’s Thrift Store in Baker Lake on June 28, 2019.
Photo courtesy of Abluqta Society

Abluqta president Joseph Arnasungaaq said the society owes a big thank you to the Hamlet of Baker Lake-Agnico Eagle Community Initiatives Fund.

He said money from the initiatives fund allowed members of the society’s board of directors to do some strategic planning.

“We are also very grateful to the Public Service Alliance of Canada for its cash donation, which we used to purchase the food for distribution,” said Arnasungaaq.

“The money was used to feed hungry community members. Sadly, many of those who we gave food to had gone days without eating.

“The Abluqta Society is grateful for the generous donations, which impacted 4.5 per cent of Baker Lake’s population of 2,069 people.”

Erin Strachan, manager of Indigenous Capacity Building Programs at Performance Management Consultants, helped get Abluqta off the ground in 2016. She continues to support the organization as an active board member today.

Strachan said donations like this can have a big impact in a small community.

Sadly, she said, there is more work to be done.

“We have an incredible board of directors, with mostly local Inuit representatives,” said Strachan.

Members and volunteers with the Abluqta Society recently celebrated the first anniversary of the opening of the society’s Thrift Shop, which sells recycled clothing, toys, and household goods at reasonable prices in the community of Baker Lake.            Photo courtesy of Abluqta Society

“We also have a team of dedicated Inuit volunteers who are committed to getting this food bank off the ground.”

Arnasungaaq said the Abluqta Society simply won’t stop until a food bank is operating in Baker Lake.

He said according to Canada Without Poverty, 70 per cent of Inuit pre-schoolers live in food insecure households, compared to 20 per cent nation-wide.

“Two out of five Northern households are food insecure, with Nunavut residents spending twice as much on food as the rest of the country,” said Arnasungaaq.

“We ask anyone who may want to obtain more information to visit the Abluqta Society page on Facebook.

“Ma’na.”